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30 Nov

November 2020 Colorado HR Legal Updates

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Colorado Voters Pass Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

What happened?
The Colorado voters passed Proposition 118, creating a Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law that will start in full on January 1, 2024.

What are the details?
The PFML program will allow employees to utilize 12 weeks of paid time off for the birth of a child and family emergencies, with an additional four weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications. Additionally, the time may be used for adoption, military service, and abuse or sexual assault.

Employers will need to start making payroll deductions starting 2023, with the payroll tax starting at 0.9% for the first two years of the program. Employers will split the percentage in half with employees contributing 0.45% and the employer covering the remaining 0.45%. Employers can pay for a larger percentage if they wish. The percent tax will increase each following year up to a cap of 1.2% of each employee’s wages.

The PFML program will cover virtually all employees in the state. Any employees who earn at least $2,500 in wages subject to PFML premiums and have been employed by their current employer for at least 180 days before the commencement of the PFML, will be eligible.

Small employers, defined as employers with fewer than 10 employees, do not need to pay the employer’s share of the premium, though they must still withhold and pay the employee’s contribution into the fund. Local Governments, independent contractors, sole proprietors, partners, and joint ventures are not required to participate in the PFML program. They can, however, opt-in to the program with a minimum of a three-year commitment.

Proposition 118 also creates the Division of Family and Medical Leave Insurance, responsible for creating a notice detailing program requirements, benefits, claims process, payroll deduction requirements, job protection rights, benefits continuation, protection from discrimination and retaliation, and other information. Once this notice is created, employers will need to post it in a conspicuous location and notify employees of the program upon hiring and/or learning that a covered individual is experiencing a triggering event under the program.

An article going over Proposition 118 can be found here.

Proposition 118 can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Colorado employers should stay aware of the developments that will come in the future regarding this PFML program.


CDLE Issues Final EPT Rules

What happened?
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) issued its final Equal Pay Transparency Rules (EPT Rules) on November 10, 2020, with additional information on job and promotional postings. The EPT Rules go into effect on January 1, 2021.

What are the details?
For those unfamiliar, Colorado will have a new Equal Pay Transparency law that is effective next year. This law, before these final rules, had required employers with any number of employees inside Colorado to post job openings for jobs outside of the state of Colorado, for all employees. Essentially requiring employers to provide information about jobs located outside the state to candidates also located outside the state. The final rules dictate that the job promotions that happen outside Colorado, the compensation posting requirements and jobs to be performed entirely outside of Colorado do not need to conform to the rules of this law.

The rules also include information regarding:

  • Compensation and benefits information included in job postings
  • Promotional opportunities
  • Exceptions
  • Content of the required notice
  • Employees who must receive notice

A detailed article focused on the EPT Rules can be found here.

The EPT Rules can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Colorado should review the above information and read the article. This rule applies to any new job postings and will affect all Colorado employers.


REMINDER: Colorado Paid Sick Leave Law Effective January 1, 2021

What happened?
The Colorado Senate has passed a bill that will create three mandatory types of sick leave:

  1. COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (CO-EPSL)
  2. Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST)
  3. Public Health Emergency Paid Sick Leave (PHEL)

What are the details?
The Colorado Senate has passed SB20-205, the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA). The bill was signed by the President of the Senate on 6/22/20 and remains to be signed by the governor to take effect. The bill will create three distinct sick paid leaves. The paid leaves will take effect at varying times. The sick leaves will be broken down individually below:

Effective (once signed by the Governor) immediately through December 31, 2020, all employers will need to provide CO-EPSL to their employees. This applies to the federally mandated paid sick leave provided by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

It is not clear what exemptions may exist when a collective bargaining relationship exists between the employer and employees, nor how the federally required leave will interact with the also required Health Emergency Leave with Pay rules that already exist in Colorado.

Details related to the leave provided by the FFCRA can be found here.

Note: the CO-EPSL is the same amount of sick leave provided by the FFCRA. It is only different in that it will be required of all Colorado employers.

PSST will first apply only to employers with 16 or more employees starting January 1, 2021, then be applicable to all employers on January 1, 2022. Employees will start accruing one hour of PSST for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. Employers may frontload the 48 hours instead of accruing per hour worked. It has not been mentioned if this relieves employers of the need to carry over balances, as it does for other states. Therefore, every employee will be allowed to carry over their unused balance, up to 48 hours of PSST, to the following plan year. Employers with existing policies that already meet or exceed the 48 hours of PSST, and the 80 hours provided (assuming the employee is working at least 80 hours every two weeks) will not have to create a new sick plan policy. Unlike other mandatory sick leave programs, PSST has no usage waiting period; Employees may use PSST as they accrue it.

To read more about PSST, including when employees may use it, click here.

PHEL is only a supplemental Paid Sick Leave. It will only be applicable in the event of a public health emergency. A public health emergency is defined by the HFWA as:

  • an act of bioterrorism, pandemic influenza, or an epidemic caused by a novel and highly fatal infectious act, for which: 1) a disaster emergency is declared by the governor; or 2) an emergency is declared by a federal, state, or local public health agency;
  • a highly infectious illness or agent with epidemic or pandemic potential for which a disaster emergency is declared by the governor.

Additionally, the employee can use their PHEL up to four weeks after the official termination or suspension of the public health emergency. The amount of supplemental leave provided varies by the amount of time worked by the employee. The amounts are as follows:

  • For employees who normally work 40 hours or more per week: At least 80 hours.
  • For employees who normally work fewer than 40 hours in a week: At least the greater of either the amount of time the employee is scheduled to work in a 14-day period or the amount of time the employee actually works during an average 14-day period.

For more details on PHEL click here.

The Senate Bill itself is available here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers with employees in Colorado should closely monitor the Governor’s website, as when it is signed it if effective immediately. Paid sick leave policies should be changed to accommodate the new emergency leaves and PSST that will start at the beginning of 2021.